Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy on DVD

by Alyssa Couball, Writing Intern (with Germar Derron)

Universal Pictures
The Purge: Anarchy, directed by James DeMonaco, was recently released on DVD. The movie currently ranks sixth on the Projections.com list--better than anyone expected. The horror movie raked in a mere $71.96 million dollars in sales at the box office. I thought the first movie was a hair above lackluster but a mile below great. So, I delved into the sequel hoping for better.

The first movie, The Purge, brought in a few well-known actors, including Ethan Hawke (Training Day) and Lena Headey (300). This time around, I recognized no one, and as a film buff I typically recognize everyone. I’d seen the main character actor, Frank Grillo (Sergeant), somewhere before, but not in anything worth mentioning.
           
Notwithstanding all the unrecognizable faces, astonishingly, the movie is not as bad as the first. It fills the gaps left from its predecessor. The movie isn't so much about cleansing souls, but rather the government making money.

The movie begins in 2023, with another annual purge. The Purge is a 12-hour event setup by the government. It gives American citizens the right to “purge” or eliminate all crime from their system in hopes of “cleansing souls.” The crimes can include torture, rape, killing, stealing . . . the list goes on. The story revolves around three different groups of people. There’s the lower class family, the Sanchez’s, including daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) and Eva (Carmen Ejogo). Then there’s the hero, Sergeant (Frank Grillo). And there’s a really annoying couple that fights throughout the movie, Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez). Thankfully, Shane dies. Anyway, the three groups try to survive Purge Night together, when their stories intertwine and they are forced to fight the violence and chaos that ensues.

This idea is completely terrifying, but a creative concept with a unique premise. It steers away from the typical “thriller” that features blood and gore. The storyline is petrifying. It forces you to think “what if.”  Movies so extreme that remain relatable are by default riveting. This isn't checking under your bed for a monster, or hearing a creaky floorboard in the middle of the night.  CRIME IS LEGAL FOR 12 HOURS.

The first movie presented an interesting concept--cleanse souls by getting out all anger and frustration. But in the first movie we saw how the rich live and survive. The series transitioned from surviving in the home, to surviving on the streets. In the second movie, the economy is thriving and the crime rate is down due to the success of the first purge. This time around, we see how the poor survive. The rich live better than the poor: better access, better prepared . . . better. Here, the poor fight back. They band together, with a group of rebels, to fight against the rich.

Grillo is a hero. He has demons and dark thoughts. In the beginning, viewers see a newspaper article posted on his wall. Later, we find out that a drunk driver hit and killed his son, and was released from jail on a technicality. Viewers also find out that he is a purger himself--embarking on a journey to invade his son’s killer's home and kill him. In the end, he invades the home and scares the s*** out of the killer's family. He does not, however, end up killing him. I believe this reveals a battle in every human being. When someone wrongs you, do they too need to suffer? Like Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” Because he did not kill him, viewers are left with a hint of good in the world.  His onscreen revelation is a great watch.

If you have doubts about watching The Purge: Anarchy, after seeing its mediocre prequel, doubt no more. The series shifts from a bloody thriller to an eye-opening event. Despite an unknown cast, the acting isn't bad. Purge 3 arrives in 2015. If it’s this good, I’m so in.


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